13 Dec 2009

Cold weather movements.

No, nothing to do with bowel actions, but the movement of birds in response to colder weather! The last 3 days have seen heavy frosts and cold crisp mornings followed by bright days and starlit nights. Many birds seem to be moving in response to this cold snap. The rowan trees at the front of our house are suddenly filled with squabbling Blackbirds and a couple of  Mistle Thrushes.

Within 3 days they've almost stripped two Rowan trees. Elsewhere other signs of cold weather movement can be seen amongst the birds feeding on the stubble. Friday was frosty but then the fog came down and didn't clear most of the day. Amongst the regulars on the stubble there were at least 10 Yellowhammers and best of all a Corn Bunting. A local first and a rarity outside their regular winter haunts in the rest of Cheshire.

Saturday morning was equally as cold but brighter and an early morning walk with Molly was made even more pleasant by the sheer number of birds around. Masses of finches, buntings, piupits and wagtails were feeding on the stubble and the early morning light gave some interesting photo oppurtunities.

Whilst scanning the wagtail and pipit flock I came across this coloured ringed bird. Luckily it flew on to a nearby barbed wire fence and I managed a few record shots. Hopefully I'll get some feedback as to where and when it was ringed from the BTO.

As if that wasn't excitement enough for one day it got better when a loose skein of about 50 Pinkfeet flew over heading towards the Dee Estuary.

Sunday once again was cold and frosty and again the lure of the stubble was unresistable. What it is to be so easily pleased! Unbelievably the Yellowhammer flock has now reached the dizzy heights of 12 and the whole area was a seething mass of feeding birds. Nothing different than on previous days but the Fieldfares will undoubtably move on as they've scoofed virtually all the hawthorn berries they've been feeding on over the last week.

Bullfinches have been remarkably conspicuous ofver the last few days as well. The hedge adjacent to the stubble fields has held 2 -3 recently whilst 2 have been regulars at the garden feeding station and Hilbre caught their first for almost 30 years on Friday.


Paul Shenton said...

Hello Phil,

I agree with you regarding Bullfinches. They seem to be much more conspicuous this year - numbers on the up possibly - I had eighteen one morning on the dunes at Point of Ayr early October.

Where did you see the Corn Bunting - only ever seen two in Cheshire...

Cheers, Paul.

Phil Woollen. said...

Corn Bunting on stubble near my house at Dunkirk / Backford. If you want see Corn Buntings go to Carr Lane, Hale. Usually 20 -30 wintering in the area. Best place is the big old white farm house (its very obvious!) They have stables and paddocks and the Buntings regularly feed in this area.

DaveE said...

I too have noticed many more bullfinches over the last few weeks on my walks along the Wirral Way between Heswall and West Kirby. Nine is the best I've had recently.
However, I've only seen one yellowhammer this year!